Love, Wisdom, and Compassion

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country. . . … More Love, Wisdom, and Compassion

King Under the Mountain: St. George of England

As an undergraduate, we’d read Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene. The professor explained how the Red Cross Knight represented St. George, the patron saint of England, and his defeat of the dragon represented the triumph of British Protestantism over the presumed errors of ‘superstitious’ Catholicism. Twenty years later I found myself in an Orthodox church … More King Under the Mountain: St. George of England

Our Part To Murmur Name Upon Name: Irish History in Song and Poetry

“Our part to murmur name upon name” – William Butler Yeats, “Easter 1916”       In college, we preferred William Butler Yeats’ fairy and esoteric poetry.  We instinctively knew that the world was “more full of weeping” than we could understand. In our own way we dreaded “the monstrous crying of the wind” even if … More Our Part To Murmur Name Upon Name: Irish History in Song and Poetry

A Tarnished Adaptation from the Golden Legend

Nicely told picture book legend, with the rhythm of a folktale. Most of the illustrations convey the mood and enhance the text, especially the aged face of the “fierce and bold” Offero, and the dark black and red illustration which accompanies the devil disguised as a knight. The illustration of the king was impressively majestic, … More A Tarnished Adaptation from the Golden Legend

Eleven Hundred Men Went Into The Water – Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes

I’ve had Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws in my To-Be-Read list for several years. A writer friend recently recommended its dramatic opening chapter, so finally I picked it up and took it with me on my beach vacation last month. It was that opening scene which stuck with me as I waded ankle-deep in riptide currents … More Eleven Hundred Men Went Into The Water – Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes

Righteous Among the Nations: The Muslims of Paris

Over sixty years later, there is so little documentation. This important story needs to be told, especially in these days of European terrorism, Islamofascism, and Islamophobia. “Jewish or Muslim,”–and so I’ve been told, also Christian–“the people of North Africa lived as neighbors and shared similar cultures. Through the centuries, they referred to each other as … More Righteous Among the Nations: The Muslims of Paris

Hornets and Mines: When Folktales Meet History

There’s an old Russian legend about St. Nicholas’ Day collected by Aleksandr Afanas’ev: Some peasants worked for a foreign steward, and the foreigner did not follow the Orthodox faith or observe the Russian holidays. He made the peasants work all the time. One day the village elder came to the Estate house and spoke to … More Hornets and Mines: When Folktales Meet History